Early on at my last job we had a funny customer who would reference hilarious things during conference calls….one of the things he’d do was refer to certain projects as being “goat rodeos” meaning they were a big, messy spectacle. He had some other good phrases too, but this one has always stuck with me the most and comes to mind when I find myself in a comically chaotic situation.
Much like what we find ourselves in over here these days :)
For the most part things are going great. In many ways the newborn phase is so much easier than I remember it being. I think part of that is due to the fact that with Grace I was not only caring for a newborn around the clock, but I was also adjusting to my life not revolving around just me anymore. In essence, my old “me centered” life was dying off and I had a new “baby centered” life stretching out before me. In many ways that transition was much harder than the general care and maintenance of the new baby.
This time around I’m very used to my life not being my own, so I’m just having to adjust to the feeding/sleeping/diaper changing routine of a newborn. It’s not easy, but it’s much easier than it was the first time around and that’s been a pleasant surprise :)
The other transition happening around here is that of Grace going from “one and only princess of the house” to being a big sister and joint heir with Princess Avery.
In the weeks leading up to Avery’s birth I spent a lot of time thinking about how Grace might respond to it all. I was hoping and praying that she would like her little sister right away and not want us to send her back! Turns out she does really like Avery. In fact, she’s SO sweet with her that it makes my heart melt.
She frequently wants to hold and kiss Avery. She loves her little hands and feet and will say things like,
“Baby sister is so bootiful”
“She’s so tiny”
“I’m a good sister”
Upon waking in the morning, after nap, and even once in the middle of the night, the first thing Grace asks about is the whereabouts of baby sister. So precious!
The thing I didn’t expect…
The defiance, disobedience and yelling.
Oh my goodness has it thrown me for a loop!
Grace is far from perfect and definitely knows what she likes and is pretty darn particular about almost everything. When she doesn’t get her way she gets frustrated and sad which usually manifests itself as crying and clinginess.
Lately she’ll straight up refuse to do things we ask. She’ll shout at the top of her lungs “NO” and “DON’T” and she’ll throw random fits at the most inopportune times (think center aisle at Target amidst a crowd of people…OY!)
I understand that despite how much she loves Avery, this new addition is a huge change in our family and it will take time for us all to get used to it. I’m sure there is a ton of stirring in her little subconscious mind and the naughty behavior is how it’s being exhibited. Lucky us ;)
The hardest part for me is that I miss my one-on-one time with Grace. I look forward to the times that Avery is napping and I can play with Grace alone or the times Andy holds Avery so I can do the bedtime routine with Grace. So you can imagine how sad it is when Grace acts out during these moments and instead of us getting to re-connect, I end up having to discipline her.
I know it’s for her own good and I don’t want her to get lost in the shuffle and start getting away with bad behavior just because she’s going through an adjustment. My desire is for her to have a good heart that loves God and embraces obedience and kindness. That doesn’t happen on it’s own, so we are digging into our energy stores to keep up with discipline in the midst of the chaos around here.
So far that has meant that the last 3 days have been challenging, but I think it’s all starting to sink in with Grace. She’s been really well behaved today and her angst and frustration levels are dramatically lower. Seeing the fruits of our labor is so encouraging!
*In case you’re curious, we follow the Biblical discipline methods from the book Shepherding a Child’s Heart. I can’t say enough about how wonderful that book is and how much it has transformed the way we approach discipline.
But back to the goat rodeo….here are just a few crazy moments from the past week:
- Me soaking wet in my birthday suit after the shower, drying off as fast as possible so that I can grab Avery who is screaming her head off in her crib and calm Grace who is shouting “NO baby sister” repeatedly while also begging me to find her Barbie’s glass slipper!
- Looking down to see two drops of maple syrup on Avery’s head after I ate French Toast for breakfast while holding her :)
- Changing Grace’s diaper with one hand while I used the other to support Avery who was nursing. Can you say potty training?!?!?
- Andy and I pushing two carts through Target…one for Avery’s carrier (we forgot to bring the snap-n-go stroller) and the other for Grace who was refusing to walk through the store. We only bought enough stuff to half fill a hand basket but navigated the entire store with two giant carts!
- Me pushing my Target cart with one hand while holding a sleeping Avery on my shoulder with the other and bumping into every single rack in the children’s section.
- Grace throwing a huge fit in the middle of everything at Target while Andy tried to talk her off the ledge and I mumbled under my breath about being “that mom” with the screaming kid at the store.
I think the moral of the story is to stay away from Target until we’ve gotten into a better groove :)